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LOCAL HERO Timmy Duggan

Helping kids show their smiles and chases their dreams

By Seth Boster

Photo Courtesy Timmy Duggan

Everyone saw the road cyclist, the national champion and Olympian. Timmy Duggan saw himself as more. “Cycling has been my identity, how a lot of people in the world know me,” he says from his Nederland home 10 years after retirement. “But that’s not what defines me.”

He always saw himself as an alpine skier, first and foremost. And there’s something else people might’ve missed.

“It would take someone like me to know what they were really looking at,” Duggan says.

Someone like him, born with a cleft lip and palate. This has defined his advocacy in post-racing life. Duggan has supported Operation Smile, the surgical nonprofit providing patients with care essential to breathing, eating, and speaking. According to the organization: “As many as 9 in 10 people can’t access basic surgical care, and can endure years of bullying, social isolation and severe health problems.”

Duggan counts himself fortunate for never enduring any of that. Treatment followed much of his youth, “but I never really dwelled on it,” he says.

He focused on competition—cycling and skiing. Now, he’s focusing on a cause, hoping kids can pursue their dreams, as he did.

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